Have your Senator and Congressman signed yet?

Backing up a recent post by DrugMonkey, Speaking of Research is now urging you to write to your Member of Congress (contact my Congress Representative) and Senator (contact my Senator) to request that they sign the Pro-Test Petition.

For example (Pick one of the three coloured paragraphs):

Dear <insert name of your Senator/Member of Congress here>,

I am contacting you to urge to you to sign the Pro-Test Petition which seeks to defend the rights of scientists to use animals in medical research. The petition can be found at www.raisingvoices.net. It states:

We the undersigned believe:

  1. That animal research has contributed and continues to contribute to major advances in the length and quality of our lives.  It remains vital to understanding basic biological processes and for the development of new treatments and therapies such as antibiotics, vaccines, organ transplants, and cancer medicines.
  2. That animal research is morally justifiable provided animal welfare remains a high priority and no valid non-animal alternatives are available.
  3. That violence, intimidation and harassment of scientists and others involved in animal research is neither a legitimate means of protest, nor morally justified.

Animal research has played a part in nearly every major medical advance from penicillin (mice) and insulin (dogs, rabbits, mice) to meningitis vaccines (mice) and anti-retroviral drugs to combat AIDS (mice, monkeys). Scanning techniques, such as MRI and CT, as well as surgical procedures, such as transplants and replacement heart valve surgery, have benefited from knowledge gained through animal studies. It is important that this lifesaving method used in the development of new treatments is not blocked by a small, and often violent, minority.

Animal research is one of the most heavily regulated fields of science, with oversight at both an institutional and national level to ensure animal welfare remains a priority. Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs) ensure all research maintains a high standard of welfare through the application of the 3Rs – the Replacement of animals with non-animal techniques wherever possible, the Refinement of animal welfare through better housing and improved veterinary care, and the Reduction of animal research to an absolute minimum. Given this system we believe animal research can contribute to the treatments of the future while keeping the US as a front runner in animal welfare.

Researchers around the US have been under attack by a small but violent group of animal rights extremists. Arson attacks against the homes and vehicles of scientists is rising, and researchers and their families have been threatened by activists. In the UK in 2006, the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, signed his name to the People’s Petition in support of lifesaving medical research and against the violent actions of animal rights extremists – this contributed to the swing in the public support for scientists and the important work they do for society as well as broader support for science in general. The Pro-Test Petition aims to replicate the success of its UK counterpart, and to make the public aware of the lifesaving work that researchers in the US carry out on a daily basis.

I urge you to add your signature to almost 12,000 others in supporting the aims and principles of the Pro-Test petition. To learn more about the benefits of animal research please check out www.speakingofresearch.com or www.amprogress.org.

Yours Sincerely,

<insert your name>

I hope the above model email helps – please personalize it wherever you can – the larger the variety of the emails on the same issue, the greater the likelihood of the Senator/Congressman taking action.


Tom Holder

6 thoughts on “Have your Senator and Congressman signed yet?

  1. The situation reflects my own family’s condition as well as the picture of Thai society where some parents do not take care of their children. ,

  2. Dear Anne,

    Can you clarify what your actual research is looking into.

    If you knew of all these alternatives you would realise that, just like animal models, they all have their shortcomings – it is not a case of simply picking one or another – you pick the most suitable method. For a small amount of research this will involve animals.

    As a scientist involved in cancer research you will be aware of the important role of animals (e.g. dogs) in the creation of the human papillomavirus vaccine (which was originally a canine vaccine). Similarly you will note the giant strides in the treatment of breast cancer which have been the result of animal work.

    How do you intend to get a drug to clinical trials before using the animal models to help actually develop it. How do you practise new surgical techniques (e.g. Deep Brain Stimulation) without the use of animals? We don’t exactly have people lining up to be involved in invasive neurophysiological research.



  3. Hi Tom,

    I’m in cancer research and know that most of the animal experiments we do are antiquated and not comparable with humans.
    Even the ones “for” hazardous materials during pregnancy are mostly for nothing.

    I know all these Alternatives very well. A lot of work needs to be done to have accurate models which are actually usable for human health.
    It’s not the animal experiments that tell us anything about the human system that’s for sure.
    This has been proven very often. I agree with you that some animal experiments are really necessary, but most of them are not. They are time consuming, very expensive and in the end they don’t tell us anything.
    I would rather count on clinical trials combined with modern methods or “alternatives” and epidemiological studies!


  4. Anne,

    1. What is your field of science?

    The fact you mention better alternatives shows the depth of your misunderstanding. The best method depends on what you’re doing – for most of science the best method is not using animals – we do not use dogs to study atomic collisions, or rats to study inorganic chemical reactions. However there are some studies in biology that could not continue without animal research – how do you study the complex chemical interactions that go on during pregnancy with a test tube or computer? I suggest you read the “alternatives?” section of the website.

    Other methods do tend to be cheaper, which is why labs around the country are keen to pick them up whenever they become useful for replacing some small part of animal research (and we do find non-animal substitutes for some bits of research).

    Speaking of Research

  5. Sorry guys,

    I’m a scientist myself and it has long been proven that most animal experiments are just for nothing and useless!!

    There are meanwhile much better and cheaper alternatives that actually give accurate results!

    Please do your research and if it is just for public health and advancement!


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